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Old 10th December 2014, 19:34
GuerraCivil GuerraCivil is offline
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Five SB downed? - Legion Condor claims on 12.12.1936

In the official history of Legion Condor the day of 12.12.1936 was a great and almost unrivalled victory for the pilots of 4th Staffel of Fighter Group 88 (4.J/88).

Enemy had received new SB bombers ("Martin"), which had proven to be very difficult to knock down as they could achieve the max. speed of more than 400 km/h leaving effectively behind the German Heinkel He 51 fighters which could achieve the max. top speed of only 330 km/h.

However if the slower biplanes were happily at higher altitude, they could catch to bombers by diving. This appears to have been the case on 12.12.1936 when five happy pilots (Knüppel, von Gilsa, Rehahn, Sawallisch and Godecke) were each credited with destroyed "Martin" (SB) bomber. Von Gilsa, Rehahn, Sawallisch and Gödecke got a "confirmed" SB kill whereas Knüppel had to be content with "probable".

However, as great fiesta as the pilots in their time may have had celebrating their SB kills, these air victories appear to be only "paper air victories". To my limited knowledge none of these five claims can be verified by the SB loss records of Republican Air Force.

The German claims are even more doubtful if we analyze the combat situation and the fact that their machines were so much slower than the enemy SB bombers. The only practical chance for Heinkel 51 to catch much faster SB was by the extra speed gained by sharp deep. However such speed does not last long and such attack could not be repeated - the faster target had flown away before the slow biplane could have achieved again enough altitude to make a new dive attack.

To attack the SB bomber the Heinkel 51 needed not to been at higher altitude but also conveniently at the flying course of SB before it could achieve the favourable attacking position with dive. If such an attack failed, Heinkel 51 would be left hopelessly behind of SB. This kind of attacking method was not particularly effective and it´s success depended as much on good luck than on pilot´s skills.

Taking all above in account I would say that the five SB claims of LC pilots on 12.12.1936 are very dubious. Of all claims of Legion Condor during the Spanish Civil War these claims are the least credible.

Last edited by GuerraCivil; 11th December 2014 at 10:51.
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Old 13th December 2014, 15:36
Arsenal VG-33 Arsenal VG-33 is offline
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Re: Five SB downed? - Legion Condor claims on 12.12.1936

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuerraCivil View Post
In the official history of Legion Condor the day of 12.12.1936 was a great and almost unrivalled victory for the pilots of 4th Staffel of Fighter Group 88 (4.J/88). ....


However if the slower biplanes were happily at higher altitude, they could catch to bombers by diving. This appears to have been the case on 12.12.1936 when five happy pilots (Knüppel, von Gilsa, Rehahn, Sawallisch and Godecke) were each credited with destroyed "Martin" (SB) bomber. Von Gilsa, Rehahn, Sawallisch and Gödecke got a "confirmed" SB kill whereas Knüppel had to be content with "probable".
....


Taking all above in account I would say that the five SB claims of LC pilots on 12.12.1936 are very dubious. Of all claims of Legion Condor during the Spanish Civil War these claims are the least credible.
Hello,

Where is it taken from, Ries, Ring book, something like that?

It seems that J/88 was already serving in the northern front at that time. There were no SB there, never. Only the Turjansky I-15 squadron (12 planes) covering about 400 km front line. A safe place for Legion Condor can we say.
Anyway no SB losses even on central spanish front this day, and very few flights due to bad wheather. (Clouds at very low level, sometimes from the ground.)

Might be some Monospars ST-25, or even Miles from northern airfields.

Anyway i undersand how less prestigious could it be to declare weak, slow and often unarmed aeroclub planes instead of powerfull and fast Tupolevs...

Regards
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Old 13th December 2014, 16:15
GuerraCivil GuerraCivil is offline
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Re: Five SB downed? - Legion Condor claims on 12.12.1936

The five SB kills on 12.12.1936 are mentioned in Laureau 2000 (Condor) and Forsyth 2011 (Aces of Legion Condor) - both are perhaps just entry-level info to Legion Condor/SCW airwar so there is not much analyzing how accurate the claims of LC pilots were. Well, Laureau makes couple of good notes.
Yes, the J/88 was at the Northern Front by December 1936 - it is very questionable what they shot down on 12.12.1936 if anything.
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Old 13th December 2014, 17:30
Arsenal VG-33 Arsenal VG-33 is offline
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Re: Five SB downed? - Legion Condor claims on 12.12.1936

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Originally Posted by GuerraCivil View Post
The five SB kills on 12.12.1936 are mentioned in Laureau 2000 (Condor) and Forsyth 2011 (Aces of Legion Condor) - both are perhaps just entry-level info to Legion Condor/SCW airwar so there is not much analyzing how accurate the claims of LC pilots were. Well, Laureau makes couple of good notes.
Yes, the J/88 was at the Northern Front by December 1936 - it is very questionable what they shot down on 12.12.1936 if anything.

Loreau had no access to soviet archives and data, through Abrossov's book published later.
In turn, Forsyth's knowledge, or behavior is questionnable...

Well, in Aviamaster 8-2002, a respublican bomber raid is mentioned that day over nationalist's Villareal airbase, with one Bre XIX, 2 Miles, 1 Farman, and 2 Monospars. The Sydney Holland's monospar is supposed to be shooted down. Not from genuine or primary sources, so somewhat doubtfull.
From russian archives via Abrossov's work, the event took place on 11/12/36, while S. Holland's plane was not shooted down during the airfield attack, but later during a connecting flighy with 2 passengers.

For conclusion, to make short SB losses list is complete and fully comprehensive until late 1938. So again, no SB losses on 12.12.36 and not even possibility for that, for accounting balance reasons.

Good luck in other reaserch.

Arsenal


Regards

Last edited by Arsenal VG-33; 14th December 2014 at 10:30.
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